You will arrive in Kathmandu and transfer to the hotel. You can spend the evening as you like.
Today is a free day for sightseeing in Kathmandu. You may wish to visit the monkey temple at Swayambunath; one of the largest Buddhist stupas in the world at Bodnath; the most important Hindu temple in the valley at Pashupatinath. You can also visit Durbar Square in the heart of the old city, where the old Royal Palace, with its intricate woodcarving, is located. Outside is Kumari Chowk, home of the Kumari, the young girl who is revered as a living goddess. The area is a maze of temples and images, and, leading away from the square in all directions, are narrow alleys, full of the most amazing variety of shops and stalls. Sightseeing tours can be booked locally. Today there will also be a full trip briefing in the morning.
You will take the short but spectacular mountain flight to Lukla (2800m), before setting off on the first short leg of the trek, ascending northwards into the valley of the Dudh Kosi (or 'milk river'). You will then descend from the small plateau down into the forested valley, from where the trail crosses several tributary streams and you will get some tantalising views before reaching the small settlement of Phakding (2652m). If there is time in the afternoon, there is an optional walk to Rimijung Monastery (1 hour), which is set above Phakding with great views of Kusumkang and Thamserku. There is approximately 3 hours of walking today.
From Phakding you will cross the Dudh Kosi over the first of several suspension bridges. The trail undulates through magnificent forests of rhododendron, giant fir and magnolia trees, past the villages of Benkar and Chumoa, before reaching Monzo. Just after Monzo, you will enter the Everest National Park, and descend to cross another suspension bridge over to Jorsale (2805m). From here, the trail climbs over a spur and alongside a dripping mossy cliff, to cross the west fork of the river, the Bhote Kosi, and start the steep climb to Namche Bazaar. About 300m up this ascent you should get, cloud permitting, your first view of the summit of Everest as it appears behind the great ridge of Nuptse-Lhotse. Another 300m of climbing will bring you to Namche Bazaar, the administrative centre of the Khumbu region and headquarters for the Mount Sagarmatha (Everest) National Park. Namche is a prosperous Sherpa village and an important trading centre with a weekly market at which fresh foodstuffs, brought up from lower villages, are exchanged for the money which many Sherpa families earn from their work with mountaineering and trekking groups. The narrow streets are a mixture of souvenir shops, some of the highest cyber cafes in the world, and places where you can rent or buy any piece of equipment under the sun! There is approximately 6.5 hours of walking today.
Today will be spent exploring Namche, in order for you to acclimatise. You will climb steeply out of Namche to the small airstrip at Shyangboche, and further on to the spectacularly situated Everest View Hotel, which is an ideal place for a tea break! On a clear day you can enjoy the magnificent views of Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse, Ama Dablam and other Himalayan giants. After this, you will drop down to the village of Khumjung, where you will be able to visit the Sir Edmund Hillary School. Kunde village sits a little further along the path, as does the Edmund Hillary hospital. You will return to Namche for the night. There is approximately 5 to 6 hours of walking today.
Today’s trail takes us steeply out of Namche and into a side valley (which eventually leads to Tibet) on a wonderful high trail with magnificent views. The Thame valley is very beautiful, and the walk through the forest is on an easy trail. This valley is quieter than the main Everest trails, and you may spot pheasants, eagles and Himalayan thar (mountain goats). Traders from Tibet still cross the Nangpa La at the head of the valley, and you may well see them with their magnificent trains of yaks. A couple of hours after leaving Namche, you will pass through Thamo, where you can visit the small nunnery, home to some Tibetan nuns. From Thamo you will continue climbing for a while, before dropping down to cross a bridge over the roaring river. A final steep climb brings you to Thame (3800m), where you will spend the next two nights. There is approximately 4 to 5 hours of walking today.
You will spend today in Thame, the village where Sherpa Tenzing Norgay lived with his first wife. Many other famous climbing Sherpas come from this village; Ang Rita, who has climbed Everest 10 times without oxygen was born here, as was Appa Sherpa, who reached the Everest’s summit for the 20th time in 2010. The village consists of scattered houses and enclosed fields, with a backdrop of huge snow and ice peaks. Set above the village is the 16th century monastery, which you are able to visit today. The gompa is surrounded by huge juniper trees, and is one of the oldest and holiest gompas in the area.
You will retrace your steps to Namche, where lunch will be served. From Namche, you begin your steep descen to the Dudh Kosi, which you will follow back to the lodge at Phakding. There is approximately 6.5 hours of walking today.
You will again retracey our steps through the rhododendron and pine forests to Chaunrikhara. Here, you will leave the main trail again, and climb the short distance to the small airstrip of Lukla. There is approximately 3 hours of walking today.
You will fly back to Kathmandu and transfer to the hotel. The rest of the day is free for you to spend as you wish.
Today is a free day in Kathmandu for individual sightseeing or shopping.
After breakfast, Depart from Kathmandu